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Mexico mayor arrested in students' disappearance charged with homicide

The Guerrero state's attorney's office announced homicide charges have been filed against former Iguala Mayor Jose Luis Abarca in connection with a Sept. 26 attack on university students in his town.

By JC Finley
Iguala Mayor Jose Luis Abarca faces six counts of aggravated homicide and one count of attempted homicide. (UPI/Shutterstock/Takamex)
Iguala Mayor Jose Luis Abarca faces six counts of aggravated homicide and one count of attempted homicide. (UPI/Shutterstock/Takamex)

MEXICO CITY, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- The mayor arrested in connection with the disappearance of 43 college students in Mexico's Guerrero state has been charged with homicide.

According to the Guerrero state attorney's office, prosecutors have charged Jose Luis Abarca with six counts of aggravated homicide and one count of attempted homicide.

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Abarca and his wife are considered the "probable masterminds" in the Sept. 26 attack on the students from Escuela Normal Rural de Ayotzinapa. According to Mexico's Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam, the couple wanted to get rid of the students because they didn't want the students' protest to disrupt a planned political event hosted by Pineda in the town the same day.

The students were aboard three commercial buses they had earlier commandeered (a common practice among students in Mexico and largely tolerated) and en route to a planned demonstration when local police blocked the buses and opened fire. Three students and three others were killed in the ambush. Some of the students were able to escape while 43 students were last seen being taken into police custody.

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Last week, three alleged members of the Guerrero Unidos gang confessed that they killed and helped dispose of more than 40 bodies at the request of local police, believed to be the missing students. DNA testing on remains recovered during the course of the investigation is ongoing.

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Abarca and his wife fled Iguala soon after the students were last seen clashing with local police, and were arrested 120 miles away, in Mexico City, on Nov. 4, in connection with their disappearance.

No charges have yet been announced in connection with the suspected deaths of the 43 students.

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